ESSM Awards & Merits 2011 Rachel Rosenstein Receives the 2011 Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year Award Rachel Rosenstein received the Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year Award from the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management in April 2011. This award recognizes graduate students for their overall performance in coursework, research, and teaching. Rachel is a Ph.D. student with Drs. Tom Boutton and Mark Tjoelker. Rachel is in the process of completing an ambitious Ph.D. research project aimed at understanding how global changes in the climate system and plant species composition will influence nitrogen cycling processes. Her dissertation project examines how altered precipitation regimes and elevated temperatures predicted for the future will influence rates of nitrogen mineralization, nitrification, and nitrogen leaching in the post oak savanna bioclimatic region of Texas. This research will be among the first of its kind to investigate the potential for global change drivers to alter soil nitrogen cycling processes. One semester per year Rachel works as a teaching assistant teaching the Fundamentals of Ecology Lab, and Dendrology Lab), and was named a Graduate Teaching Academy Fellow in 2008 by the TAMU Center for Teaching Excellence. This is an outstanding honor that requires graduate students to spend one year intensively studying the art and craft of teaching. As a Teaching Fellow, she now serves as a mentor for new graduate students at TAMU who are teaching for their first time. Rachel has a strong interest in global change science, and her career goal is to obtain a position as a professor at a university or as a research scientist with a government agency.